A customer at the Tennessee Waffle House targeted by a gunman Sunday morning is being celebrated for saving lives with his intervention between rounds.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, police believe 29-year-old Travis Reinking arrived at the Nashville area restaurant shortly before 3:30 a.m. and opened fire, killing four people and injuring several others. Reports indicate he was naked except for a coat, which he shed as he ran away from the scene.
According to CNN, one witness was able to escape to a restroom when the gunshots began, but leaped into action when he heard a pause in the shooting.
Don Aaron of the Metro Nashville Police Department said James Shaw Jr. saw an opportunity to rush the suspect and took it.
“He saw the gunman looking at his rifle,” the police spokesman said. “At that point, the shots had stopped.”
From his vantage point in the restroom, Aaron said Shaw ran to the gunman and “actually wrestled that assault rifle away, tossed it over the counter.”
After a brief struggle, police say the gunman fled on foot.
Shaw bore some physical reminders of the incident, including scrapes and an elbow injury, but his bravery is being credited by Aaron and others as a decision that likely prevented additional casualties.
“He is the hero here,” the police spokesman said. “And no doubt he saved many lives by wrestling the gun away and then tossing it over the counter.”
A witness, who saw the shooting from outside of the restaurant, agreed.
“He was a hero,” Chuck Cordero said, adding that if the gunman “had a chance to reload his weapon, there was plenty more people in that restaurant.
[Feature image: James Shaw Jr., Travis Reinking/Facebook, Metro Nashville Police]